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Last Updated:  Friday, 4 April, 2003, 14:38 GMT 15:38 UK
Family plots green graves
Eira, Martha and Ifor Humphreys
The Humphreys: Helping with grieving
A farming couple from Powys are planning to diversify by setting up Wales' first private 'green burial' site.

The scheme is the brainchild of Ifor and Eira Humphreys, who run a 200 acre cattle and sheep farm at Abermule near Newtown.

Green burials have grown in popularity with more than 100 new sites being created in the UK in the last 10 years.

Mr Humphreys said they provide an alternative to "production line" funerals by allowing a greater choice of ceremony.

I don't think much of production line funerals
Ifor Humphreys

He also claims they allow greater involvement by family and friends, helping them come to terms with the grieving process more fully.

The proposed burial field will take up 11 acres of land on a small plateau looking out to the Severn Valley to the north and the Kerry hills to the south.

It will recreate a traditional hay meadow, rich in wild flowers and renewing woodland on the steeper areas.

Bulbs and wildflowers will be allowed on the grave but a headstone will only be allowed in a memorial area.

Also, a tree, bird box or bench can be placed at the site, which will also provide a car park and picnic area.

People can be buried in a traditional wooden coffin or shroud because they are biodegradable a lead casket will not be permitted.

Ifor Humphreys
Ifor Humphreys had the idea after listening to a radio programme

Mr Humphreys had the idea to diversify after listening to a Radio 5 Live programme on the subject.

"The programme got me thinking. I don't think much of production line funerals so Eira and I decided we would be buried on the farm," said Mr Humphreys.

"I believe that offering a service for people to be buried in a tranquil environment could also provide some extra income for the farm."

Ifor has run Upper Bryntalch Farm, which has 450 sheep and 30 cows, since 1983.


Eira Humphreys was a shop manager in Newtown for 16 years before leaving work on the birth of their daughter, Martha

"I think this is a great idea because conservation and farming don't usually mix," said Mr Humphreys, who estimates the project will cost about 10,000 to set up.

"But the Green Lane Burial Field will allow me to make conservation profitable although I don't think it will be a huge money-spinner."

Under UK Law, provided drains and main services are not affected, a body can be buried more or less anywhere.

There are currently three green burial sites in Wales - two at St Asaph and one in Cardiff - but those are run by local authorities.

Powys County Council's shire planning committee approved the scheme on 4 April.

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